By Andrew L. Wang and Andrew Blankstein
Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times
8:31 PM CDT, June 30, 2011
The man arrested after allegedly sneaking aboard a New York-to-Los Angeles flight has been involved in several businesses in Chicago that offer Internet marketing for church ministries.
Public records list Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi’s home address as in Willowbrook. That address is also listed on the website of Unleash Media, a company that bills itself as a marketing firm for “world-leading ministries” and lists Noibi as a “media artist and consultant."
“Unleash Media enables ministries of all sizes and varieties (to) develop successful branding strategies,” the website says. “This may involve short films, promos, music videos, revitalizing identities or new identity design.”
The Willowbrook address is also listed in Illinois Secretary of State records for Dyvintel, whose website describes the firm as an information technology consulting company.
Noibi has acknowledged sneaking aboard a Virgin America flight in New York on June 24, officials have told the Los Angeles Times. The flight crew discovered Noibi midway through the flight, which landed in Los Angeles in the early morning hours of June 25. He was questioned but not taken into custody or arrested.
A few days later, on Tuesday, Noibi returned to Los Angeles International Airport, where he was again able to get past security without a valid boarding pass. He spent the night at the airport and, when he tried to board a Delta flight to Atlanta, he was stopped at the gate after an airline employee told him he could not board the plane.
A day after his arrest, details have emerged via social media sites and court records of Noibi's life in America, including a 2008 arrest in Chicago for allegedly stiffing a Metra conductor on a fare.
Records show that Noibi got on a Chicago-bound Metra train in Lockport on Jan. 3, 2008 and refused to pay a $4.70 fare when asked several times by the conductor. He was arrested when the train reached Union Station and was charged with misdemeanor theft. The charge was dropped about six months later, according to court records.
The report lists Noibi as a University of Michigan student and his birthplace as Iowa. It indicates he had an Illinois driver's license, a U.S. passport and a social security number.
A LinkedIn page for “Olajide O. Noibi” lists him as an undergraduate research fellow at the University of Michigan, an intern at Dyvintel and president, CEO and co-founder of Crystal Hills, Inc.
Noibi’s roles with the firms could not immediately be confirmed, and calls to Unleash Media and another number at the Willowbrook address were not answered.
A man who answered the door at a home in the 100 block of Meadow Court said he did not know who Noibi was and declined to comment.
Neighbors, however, said they recognized Noibi’s picture but hadn't heard the news of his arrest in Los Angeles. They said he is a member of a large family from Nigeria that lives on the block.
Neighbor Andrea Cisek said the head of the family is a pastor at a church. On Sundays, the family’s front yard is overrun with children after church services, she said.
“The kids would come out and play in the yard over there, all dressed up in their Sunday best,” Cisek said. “Overall, they are a nice family.”
Cisek said she believes the family runs an Internet business.
Kristi Rager, of Romeoville, lives at the former residence of Noibi in that suburb. She said that roughly one year ago Homeland Security officials came to her door looking for Noibi, though he hasn't lived there for at least 4 years.
Records tie Noibi to the same Willowbrook address as Rager’s current landlord.
Federal authorities told the Los Angeles Times they suspect that the Virgin America flight to Los Angeles last week was not the first time Noibi has flown for free.
The FBI agent who took him into custody said in an affidavit that a search of Noibi's bag found at least 10 different boarding passes – none were in his name. It was unclear whether those passes were with him when he was initially interviewed after he landed in Los Angeles.
Federal authorities also told the L.A. Times that Noibi got on the New York-to-Los Angeles flight with only an identification card from the University of Michigan. Federal rules indicate that a university ID alone should not be enough to board a flight.
A spokesperson at the university said Noibi is not a current student. He did attend from 2004 to 2006.
Andrew L. Wang is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Andrew Blankstein is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Tribune reporter Brian Slodysko contributed.
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